Merab Dvalishvili has the key to defeating UFC champion Sean O’Malley: ‘I will take him down’

Merab Dvalishvili

Merab Dvalishvili believes he holds the key to dethroning Sean O’Malley.

Following an impressive showing against former two-division champion Henry Cejudo at UFC 298, ‘The Machine’ appears to be next in line for a bantamweight title opportunity.

Before getting his turn, Dvalishvili will sit back and watch as O’Malley puts his title on the line for the first time against the only man to have bested him inside the Octagon thus far, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera, at UFC 299 on March 9. Should ‘Sugar’ pass his first test as the bantamweight king, Dvalishvili already has a pretty good idea of what he’ll need to do to end O’Malley’s reign.

“I see [O’Malley] as a dangerous opponent because he has good footwork, he has knockout power, he has a very strong right hand, and he has good timing,” Dvalishvili said on the MIGHTYcast podcast with Demetrious Johnson. “I see him as a dangerous fighter. Once he won on the Contender Series and I saw him in the UFC, I wanted to fight him because I want to challenge myself and I’m still looking that way.

“But how I see [the fight playing out], I think I should stay smart, just patient, keep striking and just wait for my time to shoot. If he defends, I let him go and then I’m going to shoot again, make him slow, make him tired, and eventually I will take him down” (h/t MMA Fighting).

Merab Dvalishvili ready to prepare for a potential clash with ‘Chito’

Of course, if Vera scores a second win over O’Malley in Miami, he will likely be the man fighting Dvalishvili later this year.

“I think ‘Chito’ is also a good fighter,” Dvalishvili said. “Very smart, he’s waiting in his pocket, he’s patient. He’s slow, but he’s sharp. Of course, he has a lot of experience in the UFC, he’s been in so many fights, won and lost. He’s dangerous, he has good kicks as well. But I don’t study him much, ‘Chito’ Vera, yet, but one thing is for sure, I will just train hard.

“What I learned is that you’ve got to just go step by step every fight. I’m focused on my next fight, next fight, next fight, that’s how I believe. I realized that a couple of years ago, just focus on the next fight.